Hackney nursery calls for action on excess speeding outside its premises

Cassland Road. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Cassland Road. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

A Hackney nursery has called for tougher action to stop cars speeding down its road.

The headteacher of Wentworth Nursery School and Children’s Centre on Cassland Road, Ben Hasan, has spoken out about the persistent problem on the street.

Cars speed in excess of 30mph, he said, emitting pollution and creating a potential danger for children crossing the road – although their parents are always guiding them.

Hackney is a 20mph borough, which is the speed limit on all the authority’s roads.

According to walking charity Living Streets, if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle at 20mph they have a 97 per cent chance of survival. However, this drops to 92pc at 30mph.

READ MORE: Hackney Council plans traffic ban outside 40 more primary schools“The issue is not only that we are a nursery school, with parents taking their children and crossing the road, but the pollution which such a volume of traffic at such a speed is adding,” Ben said.

In recent years, Ben said Wentworth Nursery School partnered with Hackney Council to bring traffic officers onto the stretch, alongside parents and children with banners emblazoned with “20 is plenty”.

Enforcement officers in high-visibility jackets successfully encouraged drivers to slow down temporarily, Ben said, but the issue has returned.

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He would welcome any traffic-calming measures which are proven to be effective: “We are a community school and we want to make sure that the community at large is safe and well protected so we will continue working with the council and the community to reduce the volume of traffic and the speed of the traffic.”

A nearby resident on the road, Doreen Barclay, is also worried about the problem – which she believes is linked to Cassland Road’s close proximity to larger A-roads in the area.

The 83-year-old former pet shop owner described it as “dangerous”: “There are too many cars on the road.

“There will be more accidents, and there have been a couple of accidents down here because it’s a busy road.”

This comes as Cassland Road Gardens hit the headlines for a separate reason - it is set to be one of the first public spaces in Hackney to renamed away from the “toxic history” of slave trader Sir John Cass.

Cllr Jon Burke, Hackney’s cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm, said: “We have worked with Wentworth Nursery School and local residents to improve road safety on Cassland Road, through the delivery of a series of Community Roadwatch events, which gave residents the opportunity to work with local police teams and use speed detection equipment to deter speeding on their streets. This work went hand in hand with the installation of speed indicators and a countdown system to slow down traffic in the area.

“However, the critical issue remains the dominance of motor traffic on London’s roads, and addressing this is fundamental to tackling the root cause of most road safety issues. That’s why we’ve taken concrete action at a local level to create neighbourhoods that put pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users first through innovative schemes like School Streets, which prohibits motor vehicles from selected schools at opening and closing times - making it easier and safer for kids to walk and cycle to school.”